The Rise and Progress of Islam - Christian Heritage Fellowship, Inc.
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The Rise and Progress of Islam

Islam World Trade Towers
September 11, 2001
Muslim Attack on America

Since the attack on America by followers of Islam on September 11, 2001, the threat of Islam to America has been denied by the naive and credulous. Frequently the subject of the Christian Crusades against Muslims who invaded Christian lands is offered by an uninformed media as an attempted foil against Christianity. Never does the media discuss the unrelenting crusade of Islam against Christianity from the inception of Islam in the seventh century. In comparison, the attack of Islam against America’s World Trade Center (on two separate occasions) is trivial in comparison to its vicious fourteen-century crusade against the followers of Jesus Christ. The candid student of history and world religions realizes the vast disparity between the followers of Jesus Christ and the followers of Mohammad. The following discussion of the origin and theology of Islam provides an introductory knowledge of this world view.

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

The History of Islam

Basic Theology of Islam Compared

 

Additional Reading

Appendix A: The Effects Of Islam On The World

Introduction

On December 5, 2006, I received an email containing the contents of American Airlines Pilot, Captain John Maniscalco. The thoughts contained in it summarizes the strong feelings and differences which exist between Muslims and Christians. This letter is an excellent preface to the study of the rise and progress of Islam.

“I’ve been trying to say this since 9/11. You worry me. I wish you didn’t. I wish when I walked down the streets of this country that I love, that your color and culture still blended with the beautiful human landscape we enjoy in this country. But you don’t blend in anymore. I notice you, and it worries me. I notice you because I can’t help it anymore. People from your homelands, professing to be Muslims, have been attacking and killing my fellow citizens and our friends for more than 20 years now. I don’t fully understand their grievances and hate but I know that nothing can justify the inhumanity of their attacks. On September 11, 2001, nineteen ARAB-MUSLIMS hijacked four jetliners in my country. They cut the throats of women in front of children and brutally stabbed to death others. They took control of those planes and crashed them into buildings killing thousands of proud fathers, loving sons, wise grandparents, elegant daughters, best friends, favorite coaches, fearless public servants, and children’s mothers. The Palestinians celebrated; the Iraqis were overjoyed, as was most of the Arab world. So I notice you now. I don’t want to be worried. I don’t want to be consumed by the same rage and hate and prejudice that has destroyed the soul of these terrorists. But I need your help. As a rational American, trying to protect my country and family in an irrational and unsafe world, I must know how to tell the difference between you and the Arab/Muslim terrorist. How do I differentiate between the true Arab/Muslim-Americans and the Arab/Muslims in our communities who are attending our schools, enjoying our parks, and living in OUR communities under the protection of OUR Constitution while they plot the next attack that will slaughter these same good neighbors and children? The events of September 11th changed the answer. It is not my responsibility to determine which of you embraces our great country, with ALL of its religions, with ALL of its different citizens, with all of its faults. It is time for every Arab/Muslim in this country to determine it for me. I want to know, I demand to know, and I have a right to know whether or not you love America. Do you pledge allegiance to its flag? Do you proudly display it in front of your house, or on your car? Do you pray in your many daily prayers that your Allah will bless this nation, that he will protect and prosper it? Or do you pray that your Allah will destroy it in one of your “Jihads”? Are you thankful for the freedom that only this nation affords? A freedom that was paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of patriots who gave their lives for this country? Are you willing to preserve this freedom by paying the ultimate sacrifice? Do you love America? If this is your commitment, then I need YOU to start letting ME know about it. Your Muslim leaders in this nation should be flooding the media at this time with hard facts on your faith, and what hard actions you are taking as a community and as a religion to protect the United States of America. Please, no more benign overtures of regret for deaths of the innocent because I worry about who you regard as innocent. No more benign overtures of condemnation for the unprovoked attacks because I worry about what is unprovoked to you. I am not interested in any more sympathy…I am only interested in action. What will you do for America— our great country— at this time of crisis, at this time of war? I want to see Arab-Muslims waving the AMERICAN flag in the streets. I want to hear you chanting “Allah Bless America .” I want to see young Arab/Muslim men enlisting in the military. I want to see a commitment of money, time, and emotion to the victims of this butchering and to this nation as a whole. The FBI has a list of over 400 people they want to talk to regarding the WTC attack. Many of these people live and socialize in Muslim communities. You know them. You know where they are. Hand them over to us, now! But I have seen little even approaching this sort of action. Instead I have seen an already closed and secretive community close even tighter. You have disappeared from the streets. You have posted armed security guards at your facilities. You have threatened lawsuits. You have screamed for protection from reprisals. The very few Arab/Muslim representatives that HAVE appeared in the media were defensive and equivocating. They seemed more concerned with making sure that the United States proves who was responsible before taking action. They seemed more concerned with protecting their fellow Muslims from violence directed toward them in the United States and abroad than they did with supporting our country and denouncing “leaders” like Khadafi, Hussein, Farrakhan, and Arafat. If the true teachings of Islam proclaim tolerance and peace and love for all people then I want chapter and verse from the Quran and statements from popular Muslim leaders to back it up. What good is it if the teachings in the Quran are good and pure and true when your “leaders” are teaching fanatical interpretations, terrorism, and intolerance? It matters little how good Islam SHOULD BE if large numbers of the world’s Muslims interpret the teachings of Mohammed incorrectly and adhere to a degenerative form of the religion. A form that has been demonstrated to us over and over again. A form whose structure is built upon a foundation of violence, death, and suicide. A form whose members are recruited from the prisons around the world. A form whose members (some as young as five years old) are seen day after day, week in and week out, year after year, marching in the streets around the world, burning effigies of our presidents, burning the American flag, shooting weapons into the air. A form whose members convert from a peaceful religion, only to take up arms against the United States of America, the country of their birth. A form whose rules are so twisted that their traveling members refuse to show their faces at airport security checkpoints, in the name of Islam. Do you and your fellow Muslims hate us because our women proudly show their faces in public rather than cover up like a shameful whore? Do you and your fellow Muslims hate us because we drink wine with dinner, or celebrate Christmas? Do you and you fellow Muslims hate us because we have befriended Israel, the ONLY civilized democratic nation in the entire Middle East? And if you and your fellow Muslims hate us, then why in the world are you even here? Are you here to take our money? Are you here to undermine our peace and stability? Are you here to destroy us? If so, I want you to leave. I want you to go back to your desert sandpit where women are treated like rats and dogs. I want you to take your religion, your friends, and your family back to your Islamic extremists, and STAY THERE! We will NEVER give in to your influence, your retarded mentality, your twisted, violent, intolerant religion. We will NEVER allow the attacks of September 11th, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us: Our rights under the greatest Constitution in the world. I want to know where every Arab/Muslim in this country stands and I think it is my right and the right of every true citizen of this country to demand it. A right paid for by the blood of thousands of my brothers and sisters who died protecting the very constitution that is protecting you and your family. I am pleading with you to let me know. I want you here as my brother, my neighbor, my friend, as a fellow American. But there can be no gray areas or ambivalence regarding your allegiance and it is up to YOU, to show ME, where YOU stand. Until then ….you worry me! LET’S COVER THE COUNTRY WITH THIS ONE!

Between 590 and 800, the Western Church (centered around Rome) made considerable gains in the northern and western Europe while the Eastern Church (with it’s center in Constantinople) became very static. The Eastern Church was only able to hold onto its land against the rising tide of Islam, but in the end became one of its victims. For the most part, Islamic expansion which began in earnest in 632 was halted in 732 after vast areas of Christian lands were conquered in both the East and West.

The History of Islam

I. The Life of Mohammad (ca. 570-632)

A. The Early Life of Mohammad (ca. 570ff)

Mohammad (ca. 570-632), the founder of Islam, was born in 570 in Mecca. The city of Mecca was a pilgrim site which contained the temple Ka’aba (Arabic for “cube”) which contained images of many gods. Once a year people from throughout the Arabian Peninsula traveled to Mecca where they worshiped the god of gods, Allah. The uniqueness to Mohammad was his claim that Allah was the only god and that he was his prophet.

His father died when Mohammed was hardly two and his mother died several years later, while he was quite young. While yet a child, Mohammad experienced spiritual visitations similar to those experienced by his mother, who was a practitioner of occult worship. Following the death of his parents, Mohammed was taken in by his uncle where he grew up with his cousins.

Mohammad’s tribe, the Quraysh, worshiped the moon god, Allah. In addition to the worship of the moon god, the Quraysh tribe worshiped 360 idols and the sacred black stone, considered the good luck charm of the tribe.

B. Mohammed’s Marriage (ca. 595)

When about twenty-five, Mohammed was employed by a wealthy widow by the name of Khadijah. In only a short while, Khadijah married Mohammed (595). With his needs abundantly supplied by the resources of his wife, Mohammed enjoyed a life of leisure and soon began to occupy himself with meditation and reflection on the meaning of life.

C. Mohammed’s Prophetic Call (ca. 610)

Fifteen years after his marriage, at the age of 40, Mohammed allegedly received a call from the moon god, Allah, to be a prophet and an apostle. The visitations which he had known as a child extended into adulthood, but whether they were divine or demonic, he could not tell. Strangely, this event in his life is not easily chronicled, as an accurate account of Mohammad’s call cannot be found. In the Quran, he gives four conflicting accounts of this call by “the Holy Spirit.”

Over the next twenty-two years, Mohammed received visions and revelations which he recorded or which were recorded by one of his followers. These writings—some of which were recorded by Mohammed’s followers after his death—were compiled and designated as the Koran (or Quran), the sacred book of Mohammed’s disciples.[1]

Mohammed first shared his call with family and friends in secret. His first converts were members of his own family, his uncle being his protector. In the course of three years, he won twelve converts. The new religion which Mohammed initiated, in time, became known as Islam,[2] often incorrectly called Mohammedanism, and the “one who submits” to the dictates of Islam was known as a Muslim or Moslem.

Ten years after the death of his uncle, Mohammed began to experience increased ridicule and opposition. In an effort to appease the pagan worship of Mecca, he decided that it would be perfectly proper to pray and worship the three daughters of the moon god, Allah. Mohammed’s writings which allowed for polytheism became an embarrassment to Mohammed and to Islam. These writings, known as the Satanic Verses, were claimed to be inspired by Satan.

D. Mohammed’s Flight (July 16, 622)

After learning of Mohammad’s allowance of polytheism, several of his disciples from Medina rebuked him and insisted that he return to his monotheistic doctrine of God. Under pressure from his followers, Mohammad allegedly received a revelation which annulled the revelation which had permitted worship of the three goddesses.

But the inhabitants of Mecca refused to tolerate Mohammed’s reversion to monotheism, and becoming enraged, forced Mohammad and his followers to leave the city. Under threat of death, Mohammed fled Mecca. The first of Mohammad’s emigrants left Mecca on July 16, 622. Mohammad and his close adviser, Abu Bakr, fled sometime afterward and arrived in Yathrib on September 24, 622. This flight became known as Mohammed’s Hegira (flight). This date, which marks the beginning of Islam, is the most important date in the Islamic calendar.

Several years prior to this event, inhabitants from Yathrib, an oasis north of Mecca home to pagan Arabs and some Jews, had attempted to persuade Mohammed to join them there. After taking up residency in Yathrib, Mohammed became its magistrate, and the name of the city was changed to Medina, “the city of the prophet.” In Medina, Mohammed began a harem, which included 10 to 12 wives.

E. Judaism and Christianity Rejected (624)

Initially, Mohammed believed his message was the same as that delivered by Moses to the Jews and Jesus to the Christians. He attempted to win Jewish converts to his new faith. To accomplish this, he preached monotheism, observed the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, prayed toward Jerusalem, appealed to Abraham and the patriarchs, adopted their dietary laws, and praised their Scriptures. But when they rejected him and his faith because his religion was not consistent with scripture, a break came with the Jews in 624 when he changed the direction in which he prayed to Mecca, practiced the pagan Friday Sabbath, again employed pagan religious rites, and began to subjugate the Jews with the sword.

F. Use of Raids (624)

Within six months of having arrived a Medina (Yathrib), Mohammed engaged in a common practice of the Arab world at this time–raids or razzias. The intent of such raids was the theft of sheep or camels of rival groups. Mohammed and his followers were not farmers and needed to devise a means of supporting themselves. They were traders but knew the continuation of that business meant conflict with the Meccan traders. Mohammad, who claimed one fifth of the booty for himself, began to send out raiding parties against the traders of Mecca. Initially, they were without success, but finally, in the sacred month of Ramadan, Mohammad and his followers savored their first victory.

G. Medina Besieged by Meccans (627)

Many raids and battles between the inhabitants of Mecca and the followers of Mohammad followed. In 627, the Meccans, led by Mohammad’s father-in-law, Abu Sufayan, besieged the city of Medina, but withdrew after fourteen day. Inside Medina, a large Jewish clan, the Qurayza, had been secretly communicating with the Meccan forces against Mohammed. When Mohammed’s followers realized this fact, they attacked the Qurayza, killing the men and selling women and children into slavery. After the murder of the Jewish men, opposition to Mohammad in Medina ceased.

H. The Beginning of the Jihad (628)

Mohammed did not wish to destroy the Meccan people but sought to win them over to his evolving new religion. In 628, he and about 1,500 followers began The Lesser Pilgrimage to Mecca, but before they arrived, they were met by representatives from Mecca who signed a peace treaty with Mohammad. Having signed the treaty, Mohammad led his people north to raid the Jews of Khaybar to make up for the booty they intended to take from Mecca. Victorious, Mohammad allowed the Jews to continue to cultivate their lands with the stipulation that a portion of the produce would be turned over to his followers. This form of taxation was likely the precedent in dealing with non-Muslims in Muslim lands and was likely the beginning of the jihad, holy war, for spreading the Muslim faith over the world.

From this beginning, alliances were formed which increasingly extended Mohammad’s influence over other tribes.

I. Mecca Conquered (630)

By 630, the movement had grown to such an extent that Mohammed was able to soldier enough forces to conquer Mecca, breaking the peace treaty which he had signed two years earlier. In an initial battle with the forces of Mecca, Mohammed himself was nearly killed.

J. Mohammed’s Death (632)

Mohammed’s violent life resulted in his own violent death. His death is surrounded by a great deal of mystery. It is believed that a Jewish woman poisoned him, but exact details of his death remain obscured.

II. The Expansion of Islam

A. Islam’s Greatest Gains (632-732)

Not having a designated successor, Islam soon broke into warring sects such as the Shiites and the Sunnis. At the time of his death, his followers were prepared to expand beyond the Arabian Peninsula. In spite of the fragmentation, Islam’s greatest gains occurred between 632 and 732. Syria and Palestine were won by 640, and the Mosque of Omar was erected in Jerusalem. By 650, both Egypt and Persia had fallen under the control of the Muslims.

B. Islam Halted in the East (718, 740)

In the East, Muslim expansion was halted by Emperor Leo III (The Isaurian, ca. 675-740) in 718 and 740. The Emperor set out to destroy the icons of the church which he believed to be the chief obstacle to the conversion of both Jews and Muslims. The issue of icons was one of the principle reasons for the Seventh Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787), which decided in favor of their use.

C. Islam Halted in the West (732)

In the West, Charles Martel halted the advance of the Muslims in the Battle of Tours in 732. Both the Eastern and Western Churches were greatly weakened by the Islamic invasion, but the losses in the East were greater than those in the West. The strong church of North Africa disappeared and Egypt and the Holy Lands were lost. The Eastern Church was forced to deal with the issue of icons (pictures and images) in the church after being accused by Muslims as being idolaters. The patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were under Islamic control and with the bishop of Constantinople under the threat of the Muslims, the bishop of Rome exploits the opportunity to ensure supremacy.

The marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon (king from 1479-1516) to Isabella of Castile (queen from 1474-1504) in 1469 paved the way for the eventual unity of Spain and an expanded Christian empire. In 1492, the Muslim Moors were driven out of their stronghold in Granada (southern Spain).

D. Turks Cause Further Struggles in the East (1071-1453)

In 1071, the Seljuk Turks deprived the Byzantian Empire of nearly half of its realm by defeating Byzantian forces at the Battle of Manzikert and invaded Asia Minor. The Seljuk Turks were a people who had moved out of central Asia into the Middle East where they were converted to Islam.

One of the greatest missionaries to the Muslims was Ramon Lull (ca. 1235-1315). In 1276, he founded a college at Miramar to cultivate Christianity’s understanding of Islam. Lull also taught at Montpellier and Paris between missionary travels. In 315 ca., he was stoned to death at Bougie, North Africa by a mob of Muslims.

In the latter part of the thirteenth century, a new group of Turks appeared in Asia Minor, having also been displaced by the Mongol expansion. Initially these Turks served the Seljuks as mercenaries, but under their leader Osman (from whom is derived the name Ottoman Turks), they asserted their independence. By 1340, the Ottoman Turks controlled northern Asia Minor.

In 1453, the Eastern church fell to the onslaught of the Muslims. As a result, the Eastern church is now dominated politically by the Muslims. With the fall of Constantinople to Islamic forces, Moscow declared itself to be the Third Rome. The fall of Constantinople became an important catalyst to the Renaissance in the West as Greek scholars fled the wave of Islam.

E. The Crusades (1096-1248)

See handout, The Crusades (1096-1248)

III. The Nation of Islam

A. Wallace D. Fard

The black Islamic movement which emerged in America, known as the Nation of Islam, was initiated by the shadowy figure, Wallace D. Fard. Until recently, very little was known of Fard (who went under several other names). Having lived in California and served prison time in San Quentin Penitentiary,[3] Fard moved to Detroit, Michigan where he began the Nation of Islam.

Using the materials printed by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, more commonly known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Fard attack the essential teachings of historic Christianity. Going from house to house, he attacked the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ, arguing that he was only a human prophet. Tearing down the Christian faith of those whose homes he entered, he sought to substitute the Islamic faith. Thus, one cult led to another.

Fard’s appeal was also racist. Though a white man himself, he insisted that Christianity was a “white man’s religion.” Playing on the emotions of the blacks in the Detroit area, Fard ensconced his new movement in racist tones, insisting that the black race was divine. Fard not only preyed upon the raw race relations, but he also preyed upon his black converts to Islam. Seeking to provide his followers with African identity and pride, he encouraged them to assume Muslim names and to dress like the Arab Muslims in the Middle East. The latter change served Fard’s own interest. To help earn his living, Fard sold Arab dress in the Detroit area, and it was he who sold his followers their new apparel. Fard’s dubious character has been summarized in a web sight:

Greetings,

I’m writing to you because I assumed you would be interested in the information I’m offering. I recently came across the FBI File of W.D. Fard Muhammad, the (white) man who started the Nation of Islam. You can view it yourself (over 700 pages) at http://foia.fbi.gov/fard.htm

There is lots of information (I’m nowhere near finished), but so far, the File proves that Fard Muhammad was white, and lists his criminal records. Finger prints, and photographs prove he is the same man who named Wallie D. Ford, served time at San Quentin, and listed his race as white, as well as a white man named Wallace Farad who was arrested in Detroit. When his son was born in 1920, he listed himself as being born in New Zealand to a British father, and a Polynesian mother (which later turned out to be true). There is tons of information on the man who founded the Nation of Islam, and it really crushes NOI doctrine.

Yes feel free to use my name, or my E-mail or anything you wish. Also, just to let you know, it’s in seven parts, go to the seventh part (part 7) and go to page 88, there they have pictures of Fard upon his 1933 arrest in Detroit.

-Said Ramadan[4]

B. Elijah Muhammad (1934)

Wallace Fard suddenly and mysteriously disappeared in 1934, leaving many to believe he was murdered. With Fard out of the way, Elijah (Poole) Muhammad (1897-1975) began his ascent to power as the head of the new movement. Elijah was the son of a Baptist pastor. Elijah was born to Wali and Marie Poole in Georgia. In 1931, Elijah moved from his native Geogia to Detroit, Michigan where he met Wallace Fard.

Under Elijah, the Nation of Islam grew beyond his wildest dreams. Elijah fueled the intellectual life of the movement with two important works: The Supreme Wisdom and The Message to the Black Man in America. Some points of doctrine are of particular importance:

• Elijah had little respect for the Bible, warning his followers that it had been corrupted by the white man.

• Jesus, for Elijah, was not a white man, but a black African who was only mortal like the Arab prophet Muhammad.

• Continuing Fard’s racism, Elijah taught that the black race was the first and the last, the creator of the universe, and origin of all other races. Blacks were regarded as gods. The white man was created out of the dark side of the black man by the evil black scientist Yakub. Yakub spent six hundred years creating the white man, who are not regarded as human being but devils.

• Following the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Elijah denied people went to heaven or hell upon death; the concept of soul sleep was advocated. Hell was experienced on earth. Following the Watchtower literature which proclaimed 1914 as the “beginning of the end,” Elijah interpreted this expression to signal the end of the white man’s rule and the beginning of black power.

C. Malcolm X

Malcolm (Little) X was the son of another black pastor who was converted to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. But after twelve years of devoted service to the Nation of Islam, Malcolm found it increasing difficult to reconcile the teachings of Islam with the lifestyle of Elijah Muhammad. Elijah’s thirteen illegitimate children, his greed, jealousy, and constant strife could not be harmonized with Malcolm’s moral standards. Following a pilgrimage to Mecca, Malcolm came to realize the racist and heretical teaching of the black Islamic movement in America and decided to speak out against it. Upon returning to the States, Malcolm began to warn the black community in America of the racist and heretical teaching of the Nation of Islam. Realizing such a bold stance would evoke a strong response from the Nation of Islam, Malcolm warned of possible attempts on his life. Finally, a black Muslim death squad moved against Malcolm, killing him at a public dance hall on February 22, 1965.

D. Louis Farrakhan

Following the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975, Louis Farrakhan eventually assumed control of the Nation of Islam. Under him, the Nation of Islam, though calling itself “The Nation of Peace,”[5] has become increasingly violent in its language against whites, Christians, and Jews. The insidious nature of the Nation of Islam may be clearly seen in the following quote:

In a videotape of the 1991 “Savior’s Day” celebration, the head of Farrakhan’s “army” stated that he was tired of hearing people say that they were willing to die for Islam.

What he wanted to know was if they were willing to kill for Islam. The time is coming, he said, when they must kill all that is white that is not right.

During this celebration, Farrakhan acknowledged that when he went to Mecca the black Muslim movement in America was condemned as heretical by orthodox Islam. But this did not seem to bother him in the least.[6]

Basic Theology of Islam Compared[7]

Christianity Islam

Contrary to the claims of many, Christianity and Islam are not at all comparable in their beliefs. At every point of doctrine, Christianity is distinct from Islam, so much so that the two faiths are mutually exclusive. It is not possible for biblical Christianity to accommodate Islam at any point for at least two reasons. First, Islam makes the claim that it is the latest, greatest, and final revelation from God, as indicated in Sura 48:28, “It is He Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and true Faith so that He may help it prevail over all other faiths. Indeed, Allah is Sufficient to bear witness (to the truth of Islam).”[8] In making this claim, it is obvious that Christianity is regarded as an inferior religion. Second, the Bible, as a record and witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, itself makes exclusive claims to it adherents. In Galatians 1:18, we read: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”

I. Distinctive Teaching–Mohammad

Christianity denies that Mohammad was inspired by God to write the Quran and initiate a new religion. However, Christianity does believe that Mohammad was a man who was born in 570 in Mecca where he started the Islamic religion. Christianity does not deny that Mohammad existed.

Muslims regard Mohammad in a much different light. They regard Mohammad as the last and greatest of all prophets of Allah whose Quran is the greatest of all inspired books. Being the latter revelation, it is alleged to supersede the teachings of the Old and New Testaments and overshadow the person of Jesus Christ.

II. Revelation

A. Bible (2 Tim. 3:16)

Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16). It stands at the end of a series of revelations which were initiated in creation and finalized in the revelation of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2).

The Quran teaches that the Bible, along with the Quran, came from God. The questions which arise from this assertion will addressed in the following section.

B. The Quran (Sura 48:28)

To the Christian, the Quran is the human work of Mohammad. It is not inspired by the God of the Old and New Testaments, and, therefore, it is not to be regarded in any measure as Scripture. Unlike the Bible, there is no verification for its accurate transmission of the Quran from the originals which were written down by Mohammad’s disciples. It should be born in mind that Mohammad did not know how to read or write, and, therefore, he could not have attested to the accuracy with which his disciples recorded his convulsive revelations.

For the Muslims, the Quran is the final revelation of God to all of mankind given through the archangel Gabriel to Mohammad over a twenty-two-year period. It is without error and guarded from error by Allah. The Quran is about four-fifths the length of the New Testament and is divided into 114 surahs (chapters). The sequence in which these revelations occurred cannot be determined. They have been arranged from largest to smallest. It should be once again noted that Muslims believe the Quran supplants the Bible (Suras 48:28; 61:9).

Two very important questions cannot be harmonized when these two books are compared.

1. The Bible Contradicts the Quran

If the Bible and the Quran were both given by God, the question naturally arises when one compares the two books: “Why do the Bible and the Quran so strongly contradict each other?” That question has been entertained by Ankerberg and Weldon:

Muslims and Christians agree that it is impossible for God to inspire error in His Word. The Quran, however, contains a large number of statements that contradict the Bible. (Again, how could Allah be the inspiration behind both books?) Dr. Robert Morey [in The Islamic Invasion] lists more than 100 contradictions; for example, citing A. Yusuf Ali’s translation (one accepted by Muslims), the Quran teaches that the ark of Noah came to rest on the top of Mt. Judi (Sura 11:44), not Mt. Ararat as the Bible teaches; that Abraham’s father was Azar (Sura 6:74), not Terah as the Bible teaches; that he attempted to sacrifice Ishmael (Sura 37:100-112), not Isaac as the Bible teaches; that Pharaoh’s wife adopted Moses (Sura 28:8-9), not his daughter as the Bible teaches; that Noah’s flood occurred in Moses’ day (Sura 7:136, cf., 7:59ff.); that Mary, the mother of Jesus, gave birth to Jesus under a palm tree (Sura 19:22), not in a stable as the Bible teaches; that Mary’s father was named Imram (Sura 66:12); and many more.[9]

How then do Muslims explain the numerous differences between the Bible and the Quran? Muslims believe the Quran is in harmony with the original writings (autographs) of the Bible. However, they insist that the Bible has been corrupted (tahrif)[10] through the centuries and is only correct insofar as it agrees with the Quran. But in defense of this position, Muslims offer no credible evidence. In response to this charge, Christian may offer thousands of pieces of evidence to demonstrate the accuracy of the Bible in relation to the original manuscripts from which it is derived.

2. The Quran Contradicts the Quran

Not only does the Quran contradict the Bible, it also contradicts itself, as demonstrated by Ankerberg and Weldon:

Even so, the Quran contains contradictions within its own pages. For example, in Sura 11 it teaches that one of Noah’s sons didn’t go into the ark, and thus “Noah’s son was drowned” in the Flood.[11] The Quran then contradicts this statement in Sura 21, where it declares that “we saved him [Noah] and all his kinsfolk from the great calamity….”[12] (According to the Bible, all of Noah’s sons were delivered [Gen. 6-8].)[13]

With such internal and external contradictions, one cannot credit much accuracy to the Quran, and if the infrastructure of Islam is dubious, it has erected a superstructure upon sand.

III. Cosmology (Creation)

A. Angels

Created beings, nonhuman, some of which fell into sin and became evil (Isa. 14:12-15; Jude 6). They are very powerful. The unfallen angels carry out the will of God (Heb. 1:4-14).

Created beings who serve God. Angels (jinn) were created from light.

B. Satan

Devil A fallen angel who opposes God in all ways. He also seeks to destroy humanity (Isa. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:13-15).

Iblis, a fallen jinn. Jinn are not angels nor men but created beings with free wills (Sura 2:268; 114:1-6).

IV. Doctrine of God (The Trinity)

Christians believe God is a trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is not three gods in one god, nor is it one person who took three forms. Trinitarianism is strictly monotheistic. God is the maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. Because Christians affirm the Trinity, they are regarded as polytheists by Muslims, and are consequently regarded as pagans who should be persecuted and killed in the Quran (Sura 9:5).[14]

Muslims believe there is no other God in existence. God is known as Allah. Allah is one person, a strict unity. There is no other God in existence. He is the creator of the universe (Sura 3:191), sovereign over all (Sura 6:61-62).

Christians must clearly distinguish several truths with regard to Islam’s doctrine of God. First, it must be remembered that Allah was the high god of the pantheon of deities in the city of Mecca where Mohammad grew up–he was the moon god. This is very different from the origin of Christianity’s understanding of God. Second, the character of Christianity’s God and Islam’s god is very different. Muslims memorize and use “99 beautiful names for Allah” in their worship, but not one of them attributes a loving quality to God. The Quran stresses that God loves those who do what is required by the Quran, but he does not love the one who does bad. Never is the Allah of the Quran said to love the sinner as does the God of the Bible (Romans 5:6, 8, 10). In this respect the God of the Bible and the Allah of the Quran are very different. Third, unlike the God of the Bible, Allah cannot be known. Rather, he is unknowable and incomprehensible. In his book, Who Is Allah in Islam, Abd-al-Masih writes concerning this view: “Allah is the unique, unexplorable, and inexplicable one–the remote, vast, and unknown God. Everything we think about him is incomplete, if not wrong. Allah cannot be comprehended.”[15] Unlike Islam, Christianity teaches that God can be known and that it is possible to have a personal relationship with Him (John 10:14; 17:3; Ephesians 1:17; 1 John 4:7-8). The Christian claim by Christians that God seeks a personal relationship with humans is regarded as an impossibility by Muslims. For the Muslim, God has not revealed himself but only his mashi’at (his desires and wishes; i.e., his will), and this has been done only through Islamic teaching or Islamic law.[16]

V. Doctrine of Christ (Christology)

A. Christianity–Jesus Divine (Col. 1:16; 2:9)

Christianity teaches that Jesus was and is the Second person of the Trinity. He is the “Word” who became flesh (John 1:1, 14), who was and is both God and man (Colossians 2:9).

B. Islam–Jesus Only Human (Sura 5:75, 72)

Jesus is not the Son of God (Sura 9:30), but only human: “The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger, all the Messengers have (like him) passed away before him . . .” (Sura 5:75). Again the deity of Jesus is denied in Sura 43:59: “He [Jesus] was no more than a servant . . .”

Islam denies that Jesus was divine–that he was God in flesh. Rather, it teaches that Jesus was nothing more that a very great prophet, who was second only to Mohammad. Islam teaches that to assert that Jesus is the Son of God or divine is blasphemous, and all who suggest that Jesus is divine (a “partner”) like Allah will be tormented eternally: “Surely who associates partners [one who has divine qualities] with Allah, him has Allah forbidden Paradise, and his resort will be the Fire and these transgressors shall have no helpers” (Sura 5:72). One important note will assist in clarifying the Quran at this point. Tawhid is the belief among Muslims in the doctrine of the singularity of Allah; shirk is its opposite or believing that God has “partners” or companions which are share the divine nature of Allah. This latter belief is regarded among Muslims as an unpardonable sin.[17]

Clearly, the Quran denies the deity of Jesus Christ–something which the Bible clearly teaches. As it true with every doctrine, it is not possible to harmonize the teaching Islam with the teaching of the Bible and orthodox Christianity. But the Quran become blasphemous by not only making Jesus Christ out to be a mere man, but also to make him a worshiper of the Meccan moon god, Allah. Sura 19:36 makes Jesus the servant and worshiper of Allah: “(Jesus said), ‘Surely, Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him (alone). This is the exact right path.’”

VI. Doctrine of Salvation (Soteriology)

A. Christianity–Atonement in Christ (Acts 1:12; 1 Peter 2:24; Sura 4:157)

Christians believe that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was the means by which Jesus atoned for the sins of the world. This doctrine is an important teaching of Christianity and a point of significant difference with Islam. Christian believe that revelation or more light from God was not all that was needed. When true light comes it shows how sinful the human heart is. That light by itself cannot heal, it cannot bridge the chasm between an infinitely holy God and a sinful fallen race. To suggest that human effort is capable of spanning the gap between the two is like suggesting that it is possible to span the Atlantic Ocean by swimming it; it cannot be done! Only God himself is capable of building a bridge between himself and fallen mankind, and Christianity teaches that God has done that in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ which has provided for atonement of sin. It is only through this sacrifice that anyone can be saved from the wrath of God (1 Peter 2:24). The death of Christ on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) and the blood which was shed becomes the sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God (1 John 2:2) from the sinner, when the sinner receives (John 1:12), by faith (Rom. 5:1), the death of Christ on the cross.

A free gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9) to the person who trusts in Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. He is our mediator (1 Tim. 2:5).

Christians believe Jesus Christ died on a Roman cross in Jerusalem. The Gospel make it clear that Jesus was dead and had not merely

B. Salvation in Islam (Sura 13:22-23)

1. By Being a Muslim

A precondition to salvation is the assumption that one has accepted Islam as the only true means of being accepted by Allah. The Muslim must believe Allah exists, believe in the fundamental doctrines of Islam, believe that Mohammad is his prophet, and follow the commands of Allah given in the Quran. No other religion can provide a means of salvation.[18]

2. By Human Efforts

In contrast to the cardinal doctrine of Christianity that Jesus died for our sins, Islam teaches that Jesus was not crucified, though it appeared that he was (Sura 4:157, 159). But in Islam, the only the only means of atonement with Allah is through human works–a sincere confession of sin and repentance by the sinner (Sura 15:26-27). As far as Islam is concerned, Jesus did not provide a means by which mankind could again be right with God. Than means was left to human effort.

Salvation, as taught by Islam, is irreconcilable with the Christian doctrine of salvation. Within Islam, salvation is achieved through human efforts: “And these are the persons who patiently persevere (in virtues and in guarding against evil), seek the favor of their Lord, and observe Prayer, and who spend of what We have provided them, secretly and openly, and who avert evil (by repaying it) with good. It is these who shall have the best end of the (present) abode. Everlasting Gardens of Paradise where they themselves, and (also) such of them as are righteous and fit (for earning a place in Heaven) from among their fathers and their spouses and their children shall enter” (Sura 13:22-23). It is evident from this passage and elsewhere in the Quran that Islam teaches that one is saved through works; by human effort is one saved.

Forgiveness of sins is obtained through personal effort and Allah’s capricious bestowal of mercy. The Quran teaches that salvation is achieved through meritorious good works and personal righteousness.

3. No Assurance of Acceptance

Despite promises of forgiveness, Muslims do not bear witness to a sense of forgiveness or acceptance with Allah, as the following story by Reza Safa demonstrates:

One hadith (story about the traditions of Muhammad) tells of a time when Khadijeh, the wife of Muhammad, asked him to forgive her sins. He replied that he was not sure if his sins were forgiven! How could he then forgive her sins? If Muhammad, the highest authority in Islam, was not sure that his sins were forgiven, how then could Muslims have that assurance?[19]

VII. Ethics of Muslims (Sura 4:3-34)

A. Women Regarded Inferior (Sura 4:34)

B. Adultery and Fornication (Sura 4:3-34)

Adultery and fornication are labeled as temporary marriages.

C. Mohammad’s Son’s Wife (Sura 33:36-38)

Mohammad took the wife of his adopted son, Zaid when Mohammad was given a revelation that would allow Zaid to divorce his beautiful wife Zainab (Mohammad’s cousin), and permit Mohammad to marry her (Sura 33:36-38).

VIII. Eschatology (Doctrine of End Times)

A. Afterlife

Christians will be with the Lord in heaven (Phil. 1:21-24), in our resurrected bodies (1 Cor. 15:50-58). Non-Christians will be cast into hell forever (Matt. 25:46).

There is an afterlife (Sura 75) experienced as either an ideal life of paradise for faithful Muslims or hell for non-Muslims and those Muslims whose works and faith were not sufficient.

B. Resurrection

Bodily resurrection of all people, non-Christians to damnation and Christians to eternal life (1 Cor. 15: 50-58).

Bodily resurrection, some to heaven, some to hell (Sura 3:77; 15:25; 75:36-40; 22:6).

C. Judgment Day

Occurs on the day of resurrection (John 12:48) when God will judge all people. Christians go to heaven. All others to hell (Matt. 25:46).

Occurs on the day of resurrection where God will judge all people. Muslims go to paradise. All others go to hell (Sura 10:53-56; 34:28). Judgment is based on a person’s deeds (Sura 14:47-52; 45:21-22).

D. Heaven

The place where God dwells (2 Chron. 30:27; Ps. 33:13-14; Matt. 6-9). Heaven is the eventual home of Christians, who are saved by God’s grace (Phil. 3:20).

Paradise to Muslims, a place of unimaginable bliss (Sura 32:17), a garden with trees and food (Sura 13:35; 15:45-48) where the desires of faithful Muslims are met (Sura 3:133; 9:38; 13:35; 39:34; 43:71; 53:13-15).

E. Hell

A place of torment in fire out of the presence of God. There is no escape from hell (Matt. 25:46).

Hell is a place of eternal punishment and torment (Sura 14:17; 25:65; 39:26), in fire (Sura 104:6-7) for those who are not Muslims (Sura 3:131) as well as those who were and whose works and faith were not sufficient (Sura 14:17; 25:65; 104:6-7).

F. Basic Practices of Islam (“Pillars of Religion”)

Though theology differs among Muslims, five fundamental religious duties, known as Pillars of Religion, are commonly practiced.

1. Reciting the Creed of Islam

The creed of Islam is, “There is no God but Allan and Mohammad is his prophet.”

2. Prayer

Five times a day Muslims are required to recite prescribed prayers. On each occasion, they assume a physical posture: standing, kneeling, hands and face placed to the ground, etc. The call to prayer at the mosque, the Muslim church or public place of worship, is sounded by a Muslim muezzin (crier) from a tower known as a minaret.

3. Observing the Month of Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is believed to be the month that Mohammad received the first revelation of the Quran in 610. Eating is permitted at night, but for the entire month of Ramadan Muslims fast during the day.

4. Giving Alms to the Poor

To assist with the feeding of the poor, Muslims are required to contribute 2.5 percent of their income and other forms of wealth, as is determined by a complicated system.

5. Pilgrimage to Mecca

The fifth and final pillar of Muslim is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Mohammad’s place of birth. Every Muslim who is physically and financially able to make the trip is required to do so (unless he or she is a slave).

6. Jihad (Associated with Pillars)

To the Five Pillars of Islam is often added the Jihad. Often the deeper “spiritual” significance of Jihad is misunderstood by the West. By Muslims, it is interpreted in two ways: first, as a personal internal or spiritual struggle; second, as an external struggle or military defense of Islam. When circumstances are believed to warrant it, Muslims are required to defend their faith through war, and anyone who becomes a martyr in a holy war is believed to be guaranteed eternal life in Paradise.[20]

Additional Reading

Bucaille, Maurice. The Bible, the Quran and Science (Indianapolis: American Trust Pub., 1979).

Gilchrist, John. The Textual History of the Quran and the Bible (Benoni, South Africa: Jesus to the Muslims, 1987).

Morey, Robert. The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest Growing Religion (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1992).

Appendix A: The Effects Of Islam On The World

The West has often given credit to Islam for its contributions to the development of civilization. However, Islam has not been a positive influence for the development of human society. When the facts are known, they will reveal that the West has inordinately credited Islam for contributions to Western civilization which it has never made. The following excerpt is taken from an article which appeared in the Methodist Quarterly Review in January 1878.

The Effects Of Islam On The World

A class of writers, as we have seen, advance Islam to the position of a God-sent religion, fraught with unmingled good to our race, “the generous rival of Christianity for the good of humanity.” We have a new era in the discussion of Mohammedanism, and this claim is now emphatically before the bar of the world. In the light of facts it must be judged. If what we have written about Mohammed and the Koran be true, then, a priori, we might be certain that Islam founded by a deceiver, perpetuated in fraud, and involving errors fundamental, vicious, and vice-producing, would be most pernicious in its effects on the world. Arguments from some incidental benefits, such as result from almost every evil or calamity, must not blind us to the real character of a system essentially baleful in tendency.

The rapidity of the Moslem conquests finds no parallel in history. The swiftness of the serried Macedonian phalanx and the resistless sweep of the mighty Roman legion, are eclipsed by the wild-rushing tornado of the Saracen horde. Within a hundred years from the death of the prophet, who bequeathed his sword to Abu Bakr, the vast tide of conquest rolled from the Oxus to the Pillars of Hercules. “Allah Akbar!” (God is great,) was the battle cry. Damascus, Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Carthage, Cordova, how rapidly these fell before the storm! “Paradise and the houris are before your faces, hell and the devils are behind your backs!” cried Khalid, in the great battle of Aijnadin, and the legions of the Emperor Heracleus were crushed with terrible slaughter. We cannot dwell on the subtle, powerful motive that impelled, and the circumstances that favored, the conquests of this desolating host. Fate, fanaticism, lust and spoil, welded into a mighty bolt and hurled against faction-weakened peoples, could hardly fail to crush all opposition. Such was Islam. Our purpose now is with the effects of the system on the countries conquered. They have not been morally elevated. How could they be by such a system, propagated by such men? In the death of Mohammed’s successors we have a significant glimpse of the spirit that prevailed. Omar was assassinated by a slave; Othman was murdered by his mutinous soldiers; Ali died from the wounds of Moslems received in a mosque; Hassan was poisoned by his wife; Hussein was shamefully mangled by Moslem soldiers; and thus runs the list. So died the conquerors, and proof cannot be produced that any country overrun by Islam has been morally elevated. What is Arabia today, its original seat; and Mecca, whither all the tribes go up? Speaking of the Wahabees, the Puritans of Islam, Palgrave, who has thoroughly studied them in their home, says:

The base-work and ground-color of their character is envy and hatred. Rapacity and licentiousness, though seldom wholly wanting, are accessory embellishments. . . . Of morality, justice, and judgment, mercy and truth, purity of heart and tongue, and all that makes man better, I never heard one syllable.[21]

This is legitimate to the system, which is in itself a moral blight of a deadly type. Sir William Muir, cautious almost to a fault in coming to conclusions, which he drew from original sources, writes:

Setting aside considerations of minor importance, three radical evils flow from the faith. . . . First, polygamy, divorce, and slavery are maintained—striking, as they do, at the root of public morals, poisoning public life, and disorganizing society. Second, freedom of judgment in religion is crushed and annihilated. Toleration is unknown. Third, a barrier has been interposed against the reception of Christianity.[22]

Hughes testifies:

Notwithstanding its fair show of outward observance, and its severe legal enactments, there is something in Islam that strikes at the very root of morals, poisons domestic life, and in its truest sense disorganizes society. . . . A barrier has been raised not merely against the advance of Christianity, but against the progress of civilization itself.[23]

Low as was the moral life of Syria, Egypt, and North Africa, where rival Christian sects had almost lost the light and power of the Gospel, Islam left a deposit of depraving ideas that soon sunk those countries much lower. In its wide sway from India to Spain it has done nothing to correct the falsehood, lust, and blood-thirstiness of men, but it has been a pestilential atmosphere developing these into rank and rapid growth. Unscrupulous and persistent in its efforts to make converts, it has made them twofold more the children of hell. The essential spirit of the system is a bloody fanaticism. Major Osborn writes:

Beheading was most common, but khalifs and governors exhibited a truly devilish ingenuity in devising torments for their enemies. Oriental history abounds with stories of almost incredible cruelty, and these impress the reader with the more horror, because they are told without any expression of wonder and reproach. They were too common to provoke such feeling.[24]

Twelve centuries have not changed the moral life of Islam except as slightly modified by the system it seeks to override and sweep away. Recall the atrocities perpetrated on the Nestorians—the inhabitants of Crete—the terrible days of the Indian mutiny. Witness the 15,000 butchered Bulgarians, with their hundreds of ravished women and thousands of plundered homes, all put beyond dispute by Mr. Gladstone’s pamphlet. Sir George Campbell, writing from the very scene of this fiendish work—and mark, in the most enlightened Moslem rule in the world—says, “There is no sort of doubt of the horror of the atrocities. These things are in no degree exaggerated. I have seen a good deal in my day, but never any thing to compare for one moment with this; and I am satisfied there has been nothing like it in modern times.” Now if Islam in the regions described by Professor Blyden is the humane, gentle, loving, reforming thing he seems to find it to be, then we have a phenomenon in the history of the system. It has departed from its traditional animus, and there must be an explanation somewhere. Rev. J. T. Gracey, who recently visited the West African coast, writes that Bishop Crowther (colored) refers the mild character of Moslems in part to ignorance of the Koran. Mr. Gracey, familiar with Islam for years, gives it as his opinion that the chief reason for this seeming liberality lies in the fact that they are after all only “semi-Mohammedan.”[25] It may be that these disconnected tribes, of low intellectual life, became an easy prey to Islam, and its essential bloodthirstiness is not developed. And yet it is noteworthy that Mr. Gracey mentions a bitter controversy at Lagos, where only the interference of the governor prevented bloodshed.

Doubtless there is some appearance of improvement in the tribes; but reliable morality and well-organized domestic life can never come from Islam. “Never higher than the fountain” is true here also. Moreover, there is a subtle fallacy in the reasoning that seeks to prove Islam a blessing, even for benighted Africa.. Doubtless Mormonism might, in many respects, improve the condition, intellectual and material, of’ the Indians about Salt Lake; but does it occur to any one that Mormonism would be a good evangelizer of the Indians? Should any one look with complacency upon that system of lust and rapine, spreading among the savages? Such a spread of Mormonism would be an incentive to all right-minded Christians to strive all the more mightily to spread the truth. Let no one be deceived into thinking that Islam will smooth the way for the Gospel in Africa. If Islam spreads over that continent, as some of its admirers seem to think it will, it will put off, perhaps for centuries, the conquest of the cross. It may be lamb-like now, because unopposed; but in the end it will be a more stubborn foe to evangelism than the darkness of fetishism and the blight of Africa’s deadly malaria. Its spread should be the signal, not for complacency, but for active effort to spread the Gospel. Shame on the messengers of’ Jesus if they permit the propagandists of Islam to wrest Africa from them! We know not what Islam may be doing on the west coast, but its work on the east coast has been truly diabolical. The history of the slave-trade of the Zanguebar coast is a shadow dark enough to eclipse all the apparent good of’ the West. We may not speak of the horrors of the slave dhows,[26] of the tens of thousands of girls herded into the shameless slave markets, and of helpless boys treated with an indignity that may not be mentioned here; and yet Professor Blyden holds up the slavery of Christian nations—always bad enough—in unfavorable contrast with Moslem treatment of the Negro. Dr. Livingstone’s entire testimony is against the idea of Africa having received any good from Islam.

But has the Koran, with its system, been the intellectual enlightener and civilizer that some persons claim? We have seen the moral bearing of this book. It is worse than worthless as to scientific value. Its not teaching science would be no argument against it if it had let science and the facts of nature and history alone, and not stated absurdities. According to the Koran the sun sets in a sea of black mud; shooting stars are fiery darts hurled at devils, who are trying to pry into the secrets of heaven; the earth is motionless, held steady by the mountains as vast weights; Alexander built a wall of brass mountain high to keep away Gog and Magog, and it is to remain till the judgment-day; and other puerilities that cannot be mentioned here. Draper says of the Koran, “In science it is absolutely worthless—its astronomy, cosmogony, physiology, invite our mirth.” “An impartial reader of the Koran may, doubtless, be surprised that so feeble a production should serve its purpose so well.” Its laws as to polygamy, slavery, commerce, calculation of time, etc., utterly unfit, this inflexible system, which is founded upon it, for being adapted to a high form of civilization. And yet Syed Ameer Ali has the effrontery to challenge Christian Europe with the assertion that it owes its enlightenment to the Moslems, “whose achievements in the field of intellect owe their origin to the teachings of Mohammed!”

This learned Moslem, who, like all his coreligionists of modern times, owes his enlightenment to Christian Europe, but echoes what he has learned from European apologists of Islam. We may frankly acknowledge the service Moslem conquerors did in the earlier centuries in taking the torch of knowledge, kindled to their hand by Jewish and Christian teachers, and bearing it westward to Spain, whence some erudition shined into Western Europe; but this is no more a reason for patronizing Islam than for encouraging idolatry and polytheism because Greece, our master in philosophy and logic, in sculpture and architecture, worshiped the gods many of the Pantheon. The Koran is opposed to freedom of thought. “To doubt or inquire is to be an infidel,” say the teachers of Islam. The slavery of its absolute injunctions and hard literalism is fatal to the development of civilization. Progress, if at all, must be in spite of the spirit of Islam. It is almost a century since White wrote: “Through every country where Mohammedanism is professed the same deep pause is made in philosophy, and the same wide chasm is seen between the opportunities of men to improve and their actual improvement.”[27] Palgrave, so much relied on for correct representations, writes of Arabia: “Islam is in its essence stationary, and was framed thus. Sterile like its God, lifeless like its first principle and supreme original, in all that constitutes true life . . . it justly repudiates all change, all advance and development.”[28] There has been no development among the Turks, although constantly stimulated by the most enlightened nations of Europe. During the past fourteen years the writer of this article has been working in India, which contains a Moslem population nearly double that of the entire Turkish empire. Here Syed Ahmed Khan has been putting forth tremendous efforts to awaken intellectual life in those forty million Moslems. He has planned, and exhorted, and taunted—enduring all the while abuse from the fanatics, who hate enlightenment because it seems to be something Christian. It is true, as Professor Blyden writes, that in the ranks of Islam some “scholars are arising imbued with Western knowledge,” but they are not the representatives of real Islam. They are opposed to the orthodox traditions of the elders, and are seeking to explain away the manifest import of the Koran. Mr. Gracey, in his recent visit to the west coast of Africa, does not find through enlightenment and blessed effects of Islam mentioned by Bosworth Smith. He writes that Islam, “after more than a thousand years of effort to subjugate those pagan tribes, the Bornaus, Fulahs, Mandingoes, and Jaloofs, have only abandoned some of the rights of paganism, while their belief in some superstitions has been greatly intensified. . . . The center of all this heathenism, its very heart, is just what Mohammedanism has never touched.” He refers to the testimony of a missionary, Mr. Picot, who thinks it would be a grand thing if the Moslem teachers could be made to leave the country.[29]

The question how far Islam was connected with the revival and spread of learning in Europe is an interesting one. It is a fact we may cheerfully acknowledge, that in the earlier centuries the attention of the Moslems was arrested and drawn toward Greek learning, and their rulers encouraged the translation of works on science and philosophy into Arabic. Greek learning, thus taken up by this new power, followed the Moslem conquerors into Spain, and thence spread into Western Europe. But more credit has been given than is merited here. Two books throw a flood of light on this subject: Documenta Philosophiae Arabum, by A. Smoelders (Bonnoe, 1836); and Recherches sur ancientness traditiones d’Aristote, by A. Jourdain (Paris, 1843). From these books many interesting facts may be learned. In the eighth century, the rising Moslem power came in contact with the Nestorian schools of Mesopotamia and Persia. The Greek language was known in those countries from the time of Alexander’s conquests. The Nestorian schools were famous for the subtleties of metaphysics and for scientific discussions. The Nestorians translated the principal Greek works philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine into Arabic; or, perhaps, first into Syriac, then into Arabic. Under their Christian tutors, the Moslems—in spite of the opposition of their own orthodox doctors–made the acquaintance of Greek learning, which they carried with them to Spain. But it is a mistake to suppose that the Renaissance in Europe is due to this movement of Islam. Some effect it most certainly had, but it must be overrated. None of the Greek poets, orators, or historians, which have exerted so powerful an influence on Europe, were translated. Their names, even, do not seem to have been known.

The opinion that the works of Aristotle were unknown to Western Europe till made known by the Arabs, cannot be sustained. Jourdain proves by citations from Boethius of the fifth century, that the works of Aristotle were known in Western Europe long before the Moslems came. Undoubtedly some useful discoveries were made by them; but this point also has been overrated. Credit is due them for some discoveries in chemistry and the healing art. Their astronomy was that of Ptolemy. But little progress was ever made by them in mathematics. It is not likely—although generally supposed —that we are indebted to them for the system of arithmetical notation in use. These figures were known to Boethius, and most probably were introduced from India through Egypt, and were adopted by the Arabs when they conquered Spain. Their discoveries in Algebra have been overrated. Dr. Hutton shows that their problems were anticipated by Diophantus. They had but little idea of the utility of the science. In the main the Arabs were but rude copyists, who rendered only small service in carrying science forward, and the debt of’ the world to Islam is not at all overwhelming. The aid given has been only incidental and temporary. Christians gave to the Moslems their first impulse toward civilization, an impulse which, after expanding for a time, subsided, and left them incapable and unprogressive from defects inherent in their system, and they soon fell into a state of intellectual decrepitude. It is the glory of Christian nations that they can claim Bacon, whose inductive laws have reconstructed the scientific world, and put investigation and progress on a true basis for all time.

A glance at the material condition of Moslem countries indicates much as to the effects of Islam on the world. Moslem countries have fallen centuries behind the progress of the age. A reign of superficial brilliancy, when conquest led the Moslem conquerors into prosperity, was soon followed by exhaustion and ruin. They wasted the countries conquered. Palestine, once a garden, is now almost a desert. Egypt has never prospered under Islam. With all her grand capacities in times of peace, her debt has accumulated at the rate of $30,000,000 for ten years past. Turkey comprises within its limits the ancient Mesopotamia, Syria, Asia Minor, Thrace, and Macedonia, once teeming with population, threaded with solidly-built roads, dotted thickly with cities and harbors, and supporting with case the wars of Alexander, of his successors, and of the Lower Empire of the Khalifs of Baghdad. Now barely

Written by Dr. Stephen FlickNumber of posts: 200
Stephen Flick heads Christian Heritage Fellowship, a national organization dedicated to reclaiming America’s Christian Heritage and celebrating the life-changing influence of the Gospel around the world. Concerned with the cultural decay of America, Dr. Flick has sought to provide answers to fellow Christians (and unbelievers) concerning the questions and objections to Christianity often posed by secularists and the irreligious. Dr. Flick is a writer and speaker and has authored numerous articles and books on America’s Christian heritage. He earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in history and Christian theology and has taught at the graduate level as full professor. He has been a licensed minster for nearly forty years and resides in East Tennessee with his wife, Beth. They have two grown, married children and five grandchildren.

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